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Commuter Rail Facing Possible Fee Hikes, Service Reductions

The MBTA is considering increasing fees and reducing commuter rail service to balance its budget next year.

Facing a $160 million projected budget deficit for the next fiscal year, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) is planning to both increase fees and reduce service that would affect commuter rail riders in Andover.

According to a report released earlier this month, the MBTA said that both increasing fees and reducing service is neccessary to close the projected budget gap the department is facing for fiscal 2013.  

"The means available to the MBTA for addressing the $161.0 million projected budget deficit for fiscal year 2013 are limited to increasing fares and reducing service," the report stated. "Closing the budget deficit employing only a fare increase or only service reductions is untenable."

Under two proposed scenarios, the MBTA is considering eliminating all commuter rail service after 10 p.m. on weekdays and eliminating all commuter rail service on Saturday and Sunday.

As far as fee increases, the MBTA is proposing two scenarios that would increase pass prices as well as single fares.

From the main Andover commuter rail stop, pass prices would increase from $210 to $282, a 34.3 percent increase, under the first scenario. It would increase from $210 to $259, a 23.3 percent increase, under the second scenario.

Single fare prices would increase from $6.25 to $9, a 44 percent increase, under the first scenario. They would increase from $6.25 to $8.25, a 32 percent increase, under the second scenario.

MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said that the proposed changes will not be finalized until the spring.

"No final decisions will be made until April at the earliest," said Pasaturo.

Jack Witty January 12, 2012 at 10:01 PM
I heard on local News about 2 weeks ago the has to be about 35 Public Hearings first. A respite for some.. But it IS inevitable. Another Union-pension connection, no doubt.

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